1492 Latin Fusion

Tel: +44 (0)20 7381 3810
Address: 404 North End Road, SW6 1LU
Cuisine Type: Latin American fusion
nearest tube station Fulham Broadway (DISTRICT)
Website: www.1492restaurant.com

This restaurant has closed.

1492 is, of course, the date on which Columbus arrived in the Americas, and the premise behind this new restaurant is that the mixing of cultures that followed – Native Americans, Europeans, Arabs and Africans – produced the fusion that characterises the Latin American peoples today.

And for the peoples, read their food, a tempting variety of which is on offer in stylish surroundings. Dark wooden shutters against colourful orange washed walls, wooden floors and a couple of huge tropical plants create a suitably exotic backdrop for the ingredients, and the eclectic music (a bit too loud) adds to the atmosphere.

The chef is German Rodriguez (another fusion, surely?) He’s worked in New York, Greece, and his homeland of Venezuela, and this is his first head chef position. Judging from the flair and innovation he shows, it won’t be the last.

Starters (£3.25 – £7) include conch fritters, Salvadorean rock oysters, Inca Pervian prawn soup and, for the less adventurous, plantain chips with black bean salsa or tortilla chips with guacamole. Grilled chicken wings were tender and moist and came with a good mango salsa. I went for a Cangrejo salad (£8), consisting of crab, avocado and papaya, which was both beautiful and delicious.

Main courses (£9.50 – £14.50) are similarly varied and interesting. A speciality of the house is the Argentinian steak served with parsley and garlic oil. Don’t ask for a steak knife for this – unlike most beef served in the UK, you won’t need one. Mayan Rojo grilled chicken was also excellent – more like a quarter chicken than the breast advertised, and cooked to perfection, with a terrific spicy marinade from Guatemala.

Side orders (£2 – £3.25) are mostly simple – rice with either coconut or black beans, simple salads, various fries. We tried yuca fries – delicious, though not conspicuously different from good potato croquettes. There’s also a sandwich section on the menu for those wanting a quick meal. The 1492 burger with beef and chorizo is £6.50 and the Cuban sandwich with pork, cheese, ham and pickle on ciabatta sounds pretty good at £8.50 – all served with yuca or hand-cut fries.

Puddings were a slight disappointment – they sounded great but somehow didn’t quite live up to their billing. Cinnamon Tres Leches (£4.25) – “unique sponge cake with Latin American crème anglaise” – was OK but not special (and the crème anglaise tasted like nothing more than evaporated milk). An almond-cinnamon-chocolate cake (£4.50) tasted nicely of chocolate, but not much else.

The wine list is short and good, all the wines from Chile or Argentina (chosen, we understand, by the Venezuelan Ambassador – or was it Argentinian?) House red is a Chilean Costanera 2002, good value at £11.95. The Tamaya 2001 however, is fabulous at £18.50. There’s also a good range of cocktails at £5.80, including the Latin Fusion – rum and pisco (South America’s colourless macho brandy) with mango, passion fruit and lemon – and a selection of coffees.

In a city where there are too many fake Latin experiences, 1492 is a welcome addition to the culinary variety on offer – and a great place for a relaxed and fun night out.

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